Campaigning against FGM in Canada

Debbie Wasserman, President of NCJW Canada, reports on their correspondence with the Federal Opposition Party of Canada about reconsideration of decriminalizing female genital mutation in Canada. Advocacy does make a difference!!! 

January 2, 2018
Dear Mr. Scheer,

National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) is a voluntary organization,
which in the spirit of Judaism, is dedicated to furthering human welfare in the Jewish
and general communities, locally, nationally and internationally.

Of prime concern is equality for all and women’s rights. Female Genital Mutilation
(FGM) is considered a ‘barbaric cultural practice’ in Canada’s current Citizenship
Guide. According to United Nations figures, around 200 million women around the
world have been subjected to FGM. This is an unacceptable practice that
occurs shrouded in silence.

NCJWC is the only Canadian organization that is an affiliate of International Council
of Jewish Women (ICJW). ICJW, as an NGO, has strongly protested against FGM at
the United Nations. In 1993 the UN General Assembly included FGM in resolution
48104, the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is also
declared a violation of Human Rights.

We trust that you as leaders of our country will raise your voice against this harmful
tradition. FGM must remain a crime in Canada’s revised Citizenship Guide. This
practice is barbaric and does not belong in Canadian society.

It has been reported that a draft version of the revised Citizenship Guide had
dropped the line stating “barbaric cultural practices”, referring to FGM. We,
Canadian women, find this shocking and encourage the government to ensure that
this practice remains illegal. We are opposed to any consideration of the removal
of this appalling practice from the Citizenship Guide. It is a crime against humanity.
The Government of Canada must commit to ensuring this inhumane practice
continues to be listed as intolerable and criminal.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Debbie Wasserman, President (NCJWC)

Response from the Federal Opposition Party of Canada

Dear Ms. Wasserman

On behalf of the Hon. Andrew Scheer, thank you for your correspondence regarding the
inclusion of a condemnation of female genital mutilation in Canada’s Citizenship Guide.
For months, Conservatives called upon the Liberal government to keep this condemnation in Canada’s Citizenship Guide. Recently, the government finally relented and chose to do the right thing.

The Conservative Shadow Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Hon.
Michelle Rempel had introduced Petition E-1310. The petition called upon the government to include the condemnation of female genital mutilation in the citizenship guide. It garnered nearly 25,000 signatures from concerned Canadians.

Conservatives believe that Canada must do more to combat female genital mutilation both at home and abroad. For example, the government has not yet committed to tracking data on these cases to determine how pervasive the practice is. We have called on the government to produce a plan to protect vulnerable women and girls. It must ensure that female genital mutilation practitioners are not entering our country to perform the procedure and prevent girls form being taken abroad to be victimized.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.

Correspondence Unit,
Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition